Tuesday, November 2, 2010

All better with a bean sandwich and more

 papaya/banana/peanut butter smoothie and new patio furniture

I came into work yesterday with an overnight packed and ready to go for a 3-day trip to Kayes only to find I would no longer be going on the trip I had been looking forward to for a week due to a miscommunication.  Frustrated, I walk over to Ba's breakfast stand which faces the PHARE office to buy a bean, plantain and french fry sandwich.  Safe under the shade of her umbrella stand I find Fletcher, another Peace Corps Volunteer at PHARE, in line to buy his own breakfast delight.  He offers to buy my bean sandwich and I feel my tenseness melt a little.  Bean and plantains - this boy knows the way to my heart! 

After work I put my book, camera and wallet into the coral beach bag my sister-in-law gave all her bridesmaids at her wedding in June and head across the street to the National Park.  'Djelika, i tununa-deh!' calls Doumbia, one of the security guards, from a low-lying stone bench.  I smile and wave and continue onto the stone pathway leading through the center of the park.  At the end of the path I find a bench by a tiered pond and set-up shop.  I look up every now and again and see cute couples walking slowly around the park and men jogging in track suits on the gravel paths.  Two ducks jump into the pond right by my feet and I find myself smiling at their little duck feet flapping in the water. 

While I am still disappointed about not getting to go on the trip I am also trying to keep my mind open that everything happens for a reason and maybe I am supposed to be in Bamako this week.  I gather my belongings at a quarter to 6 and leave the gardens to head to the French cultural center for a free dance performance.  I walk there from work and get to see the sun set on Bamako as I walk over a bridge that extends over the train tracks.  The dances (3 solos) at the CCF are interesting and I enjoy sharing them with a group of Canadian students here for a teaching practicum.  I leave happy to have shared in the experience with folks I truly enjoy.

A quick taxi ride and 1000 CFA later I arrive home where I greet Ma Diallo, my landlord and host, and explain to her why I am not in Kayes as I told her I would be this morning when I left for work.  I head upstairs and fish in my coral bag for my house key to find it is not there.  I think back to this morning when I was in a rush to gather my overnight and work bag and remember dropping the key in the wrong bag - the one I left at work so I would not have to tote it around the city after work.  I sigh -  sometimes the frustrations of the day add up so much it's comical.

an afternoon shadow on my stairs

I return downstairs and tell Ma the situation.   She gives me her 'Ehhhh!!??' face and tells me to go back to work to get my keys, vite-fais!  It is almost 9 pm and I explain the doors are locked and the guard-on-duty does not have the keys to the office.  I ask if I can sleep next to her - I will try to keep on my side of the bed!  She nods her approval and then begins to tell me a story about her husband.  Her husband, a militaire now living in France, often traveled for work.  Once, while they were living in Kayes, he was slated to take a train to Bamako but, like me, his name was left off the 'ordre de mission' and so he stayed at home.  That morning they heard on the radio that the train he was supposed to be on derailed (not uncommon here) and she said 6,000 people died!  While I don't think her numbers are accurate, I understood what she was telling me and appreciated it.  She said things happen for a reason, Djelika.  You weren't meant to go.  I fell asleep smiling, Ma snoring next to me, because even though days can be filled with frustrations, days are also filled with tender moments, from bean sandwiches to duck feet to snoring landladies, that make it OK.

See some more sweet moments in Bamako here


Anonymous said...

not just sweet, but comical. you made me laugh. i extend thanks to "ma"! love you, mom

kloppski said...

Very nice, Jennifer...thanks for sharing!

Lindsay D said...

that was a very sweet post. it made me feel warm inside. sorry about your frustrating day! but you seemed to make the best of it:)

Jennifer said...

thanks you guys! sometimes i find all it takes is a few deep breaths, a good night's sleep and writing a blog post to make me feel better :) thanks for reading!

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